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EasyJet targets more long-haul feeder ties

Passengers wait to board a passenger aircraft, operated by EasyJet Plc, on the tarmac at London Gatwick airport in Crawley, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to decide quickly to build a new runway at the city's Gatwick Airport, saying it would show that the city is still open for business in the wake of the Brexit vote. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • EasyJet plc CEO Johan Lundgren is in talks for further deals allowing passengers to connect with flights operated by long-haul carriers after announcing an accord with Singapore Airlines Ltd.

Europe’s second-biggest discount carrier aims to seal more tie-ups before the year’s end, Lundgren said in an interview in London. Potential allies include more Asian operators as well as airlines from other global regions, he said yesterday.

Discount airlines are embracing flight connections to add destinations and boost sales after previously discouraging transfers as too costly and complex. The Worldwide by EasyJet offer, launched last year with Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and Canada’s WestJet Ltd., is available only where there’s typically a minimum 2½-hour time gap, and flights won’t be held if a passenger’s first plane is late.

Lundgren spoke after announcing a partnership that will allow customers to connect to Singapore Air’s long-haul flights at Milan Malpensa airport, and to services operated by the Asian giant’s Scoot discount arm at Berlin Tegel. The deal takes the number of partners in Worldwide to 10.

“It’s an exciting prospect,” said Lundgren, who said the tie-up with Singapore has taken the project to a new level by bringing in the first fullservice carrier. The business model is “risk free”, he told Bloomberg Television, delivering the benefits of seamless travel without EasyJet having to join a global alliance.

Luton, England-based Easy- Jet has established Milan as a focus for the operation, with the existing Norwegian deal linking with services to Los Angeles and Italian operator Neos serving the Caribbean, East Africa, Indian Ocean destinations and East Asia. Passengers still need to collect their own luggage off the baggage carousel and hand the bags in for transfer.

Discount rival Ryanair Holdings plc has worked on similar initiatives with Norwegian, IAG SA’s Aer Lingus and Spain’s Air Europa, but is still rolling out the service.